The washing of regeneration. – Titus 3:5.
Baptism works forgiveness of sins, delivers from death and the devil, and gives eternal salvation to all who believe this, as the words and promises of God declare.
When a Christian who is not well grounded in the Word of God hears this, he is astonished and doubtingly asks: How can water do such great things? You know the answer. It is not mere water, indeed, that does them, but the Word of God which is in and with the water; this puts these blessings into Baptism. And faith, which trusts such Word of God in the water, receives these great things through Baptism.
Do you fully understand this, my dear Christian? Without the Word of God the water is simple water and no Baptism. But with the Word of God it is a Baptism: a gracious water of life and a washing of regeneration in the Holy Ghost.
Through His Word, God has placed into the water of Baptism forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation; and the power of the Holy Ghost works in Baptism for the kindling and strengthening of faith in us. You are baptized. You believe. And so you are regenerated. You are a child of God that possesses forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation, and the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost creates within you a new mind. You rejoice in the possession of the great gifts of the grace of God; you do fear, love, and trust in God; you possess new life.
Thus Baptism is a washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost, which God has shed on us abundantly in Baptism through Jesus Christ, our Savior, that, being justified by His grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life, as St. Paul teaches in Titus chapter three. (Titus 3)
This is a faithful saying.
PRAYER. – Lord, my God, my gracious God, I thank Thee for what Thou hast done for me in Baptism! Thou hast regenerated me. Thou hast given me forgiveness of sins, and thereby that righteousness which is valid in Thy sight. Thou hast delivered me from death and the devil, and given me eternal salvation. Thou hast granted to me the Holy Ghost, who works and sustains faith and a new spiritual life within me. O my God, in the possession of such grace let me live and die, and awaken in life eternal, for Christ’s sake! Amen.
That by the water and the Word
We’re born again, we thank Thee, Lord!
In life and death Thine let us be,
And Thine in all eternity.
Hymn 403, 6. (ELHB)